The cutting-edge contemporary art found inside the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is often as forward-looking (or bizarre) as the circular building that houses it. Located Seventh St. SW and Independence Ave. on the Mall, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden houses works by modern masters, such as Auguste Rodin, Winslow Homer, Mary Cassatt, and Henry Moore.
Its special exhibitions are among the most important in America: Imprisoned Chinese activist/artist Ai Weiwei was represented in one of the more recent shows. The outdoor sculpture garden (set below Mall level) contains works by Rodin, Giacometti, and Alexander Calder, among many others. If you are a modern art fan, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is a must-see.
The museum has been looking to expand or reorganize its spaces for some time. A widely publicized “bubble” addition that was to have been constructed over the courtyard was eventually abandoned. Though it might not seem kid-friendly, it often mounts curious or ironic shows that children may find funny, and it frequently shows films downstairs.
Touring Tips: Unlike the Wright-designed Guggenheim in Manhattan, the Hirshhorn’s interior is round, not “ramped,” so it’s easier on the body.
Docents offer half-hour gallery talks Monday–Thursday at 12:30 p.m., while Friday tours are led by artists and scholars commenting on the exhibits. From noon to 4 p.m., docents conduct impromptu 30-minute tours; visit the information desk to get started, or while in the galleries look for anyone wearing a “?” badge.
Group tours are offered 10:30 a.m.–noon, but you must reserve at least a month in advance; visit their website for scheduling info. There is no food available in the museum; however, some years, an outdoor café has offered lunch during the summer.
How to get there and more:
Nearest Metro stations Smithsonian or L’Enfant Plaza. Contact ☎ 202-633-4674; hirshhorn.si.edu. Admission Free. Hours Daily, 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m.; closed December 25. Sculpture Garden open from 7:30 a.m. until dusk daily.
Pictures: By Gryffindor (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons